8 Collaborations to Look Forward to at the Grammys This Year

One of the coolest things about the Grammy Awards is the show’s ability to bring some unique and unexpected collaborations to its stage. It was announced on Tuesday that former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr will be performing together at this year’s ceremony, which is only the most buzzworthy of a long list of collaborations that are sure to make for an interesting evening on Music’s Biggest Night. The 56th annual Grammy Awards will be held on Sunday, January 26 in Los Angeles.

8. Taylor Swift, Kacey Musgraves, & Keith Urban

This country mashup will be worth watching to see newcomer Kacey Musgraves blow pop tart Taylor Swift out of the water. Musgraves is nominated for Best New Artist, Best Country Album, and has two entries in the Best Country Song Category from her debut album “Same Trailer, Different Park.” Musgraves’ lyrics are smart, funny, and gritty — she has staying power on the grounds of her music alone, no incessant tabloid coverage of her relationships necessary.

7. Sara Bareilles & Carole King

Pop music legend Carole King is being honored as the 2014 MusiCares Person of the Year, an award for both her significant musical achievement and her work in philanthropy. Singer songwriter Sara Bareilles owes a huge debt to King, one of the most important female singer songerwriters of all time. Bareilles got a surprise nomination for Album of the Year for “The Blessed Unrest” and is also in the running for Best Pop Solo Performance. The collaboration between Bareilles and King will be a chance to watch the relationship between a legend and the new generation she has influenced.

6. Daft Punk With Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams, & Stevie Wonder

Daft Punk will mark their first live performance since releasing “Random Access Memories” in May by joining collaborators Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams to take the stage with 25-time Grammy winner Stevie Wonder. Daft Punk are nominated for Album of the Year, Best Dance/Electronica Album, and Best Pop/Group Performance for the single “Get Lucky.”

5. Robin Thicke & Chicago

Robin Thicke will take the stage and likely perform the only song he’s known for, the controversial hit “Blurred Lines,” replacing Miley and her twerking with the soft rock of Chicago. The performance is guaranteed to be better than Thicke’s VMA appearance musically, but no one brings the “wtf factor” like Miley. Considering the naked models from the music video won’t be there either, expect a tamer version of Thicke than has been seen before. Thicke is nominated for Record of the Year and Best Pop Group/Duo Performance.

4. John Legend With Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were one of the most popular and critically acclaimed acts to emerge in 2013. Their album “The Heist” uses hip hop to critique itself as Macklemore raps to start a conversation about what he sees as hip hip’s shortcomings — including its rampant materialism, homophobia, and glorification of drug use. But the duo aren’t all serious, with the hilarious “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us” as counter points to more somber songs like “Same Love.”

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are nominated for seven awards total, including Album of the Year, Best Rap Album, and Best New Artist. A collaboration with R&B singer-songwriter John Legend, who’s nominated for Best R&B Album, will be worth catching for both rap purists and those who don’t typically listen to the genre.

3. Metallica With Lang Lang

Here’s a weird one for you. Eight-time Grammy winners Metallica will be taking the stage with the Chinese classical pianist Lang Lang, who has been named the Grammy Cultural Ambassador to China. Lang Lang is considered to be one of the hottest acts in classical music, and it will be interesting (and maybe painful?) to see what he cooks up with the aging metal band.

2. Meryl Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, & Blake Shelton

The decision to throw CMT pretty-boy Blake Shelton in with three of the music important musicians in the history of country music shows the sad truth that the Grammys need the viewership of those interested in CMT heartthrobs (see: Taylor Swift). Haggard, Kristofferson, and Nelson were making country music history when Blake Shelton was still messing his pants, and they’ll probably cut gems just jamming together backstage while Shelton is busy fixing his hair. If Shelton has enough sense to stay in the background and let music lovers enjoy seeing Haggard, Kristofferson, and Nelson perform together, then Grammy watchers are in for a treat. Kristofferson is set to receive a 2014 Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award.

1. Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr

The last two living members of the Beatles will be performing together at the awards show, and both will receive the 2014 Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award for their work with the most influential rock band of all time. McCartney himself is up for two Grammy awards, one for Best Rock Song for his collaboration with the living members of Nirvana “Cut Me Some Slack,” and one for Best Music Film for “Live Kisses.”

On the Monday following the ceremony, the Grammys will be holding a special event in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles’ appearance on the Ed Sullivan show called “The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute To The Beatles.” But Grammy night will be the night to see McCartney and Starr perform together.

Other performers set to take the stage on January 26 include Pink and fun.’s Nate Reuss, Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons, and Lorde. More could be announced in the coming weeks. All the nominees for this year can be found here.

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